How To Buy A Quality Email List

*Following excerpt from the Direct Marketing Blog, Page 89, Item 4

CLICK HERE  to go directly to 10 Rules On How To Buy Email Lists

Thirty years in the list industry, and for the first time I’m witnessing an infection contaminate the reputation of our list industry. I’m referring to the recent explosion of new start-ups … with little history in the list industry … that are peddling bogus email addresses.

I’ll not mention names, but a simple Google search on “buy email list” will show a long list of companies claiming to “sell” quality email addresses … at unbelievable low prices … such as 100,000 affluent email addresses for $399. Unfortunately there’s no such thing!

A day doesn’t pass where some defrauded marketer calls, and shares a story about how they just flushed $499 down the toilet. A recent call-in shared a story of how he bought 85,000 golf email addresses for just $699. He figured he couldn’t lose even if 50% of the list was bad; sounds logical. He excitedly email tested a small 5,000 name sample, and quickly learned that more than 45% of the email addresses were undeliverable. No problem – as he expected – BUT then he was faced with a new development … his email transmission company locked his account … punishment per se for using a bad list. Most unsuspected marketers are not aware of this latter point; it’s a waste of time and money to buy a huge number of email addresses if there’s not an email transmission company that is willing to transmit the email list.

And yes there are a few email transmission companies willing to take money for transmitting an email list, BUT what these companies don’t admit is the majority of your emails will either be blocked or sent to the SPAM Box … since the transmission company is blacklisted by the ISPs (AOL, Gmail, Yahoo, etc). In a nutshell, the unsuspected marketer flushes away $499 when purchasing the bogus email list … and then flushes away another few hundred dollars by paying a blacklisted company to transmit the bogus email addresses.

I want a refund! What about refunds? This question reminds me of another victim who bought a 60,000 name boat email list for just $950. A steal! So he thought. A week later his transmission company locked his account … before they even email blasted the list. Transmission company informed that their email cleansing service classified the list as a low quality list … and quality email transmission companies will NOT touch a low quality list … since doing so would damage their reputation with servers (AOL, Gmail, etc). Anyway, the victim called the email list seller for a refund, but after receiving voicemail too many times to tally … he gave up.

Another refund story involves a young woman who started a new business catering to the senior’s market. She bought an ailment email list consisting of a whopping 175,000 email addresses AND direct mail addresses for just $1700. She was a sharp marketer because as an extra quality control measure, she called us and asked that we append age data … just to make sure the names were really seniors. Well, I’m sure you can guess. Over 55% of the names were under age 50 … far from her target market. Plus, we also discovered that the list was loaded with duplicates. Bottom-line, after eliminating all the duplicates and under age names, her ailment list dwindled down to 48,000 names. She was mad but still under control since she still had about 48,000 email names … for just $1700 … a good deal. Then she did a test email blast to 10,000 names; undeliverable / bounce-back rate was 43% … that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She called the email list provider demanding her money back. But like 99% of the time, the email list seller refused to refund any money, but instead offer her more email addresses. Of course she did not want more bad email addresses – as the cost of cleaning the bad email addresses was too much.

In this tough economy, I understand how marketers are looking for a low cost way to reach their prospects, and unfortunately some are willing to risk $400 to give a low cost email list a try. However, if there’s a willingness to take that risk, then my only recommendation is to DEMAND some type of guarantee. If a list supplier is not willing to provide some type of “money-back” guarantee – then I highly recommend that a list is NOT purchased. Literally, the dollars might as well be flushed down the toilet.

IF there’s a guarantee, be sure to have the email list supplier clarify. Does the undeliverable guarantee mean they will simply send you more bad email addresses to compensate for the undeliverables … or does the guarantee include a “money” refund? IF you find a “money” refund guarantee, then let me say congratulations because I’ve never seen one … not a single one … of the low cost email list sellers provide a “money back” guarantee. It’s always … we’ll send you more bad email addresses.

Bottom-line, quality “opt-in” email addresses … with strong guarantees … cost a lot of money, usually 20+ cents per name. Very expensive but if you’ve a strong offer and a well priced product, then a quality email list will generate a positive ROI.

Now, not being able to afford a “quality” email list is no reason to go out and waste money on a low cost worthless email list. Instead I recommend investing $400 into a direct mail or telemarketing list. Yes telemarketing is tough, BUT there are some nifty and effective ways to generate long-term profitable customers via telemarketing. And studies have shown that a well targeted direct mail campaign will easily generate more responses (sales) than an email campaign.



  1. LIVE PERSON: Call the seller a few times. If you can’t reach a live person then it’s highly likely you’ll receive bogus email addresses.
  2. BUSINESS EMAIL LIST – GENERIC EMAIL ADDRESSES: Sending your offer to email addresses like: “” will result in few responses. Generic email addresses are very common with restaurant email lists, attorney email lists, and other business email list sellers. These types of email addresses are an indicator that the email addresses were compiled from web crawlers. For a successful email list campaign you need the email address of restaurant owner/partner … not info.
  3. 90+ PERCENT DELIVERY RATE – EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: Why is my email response rate so low? The ISPs (Gmail, Yahoo, etc) will block “good-deliverable” email addresses … or divert to SPAM box … if the “good” email addresses are associated with an email blast that includes a lot of bad email addresses. This blocking of good email addresses is why an email blast to 1,000,000 names can literally have zero responses. Using an email list that is less than 90% deliverable … will result in your good email addresses being blocked … thus making the email campaign futile. Demand a 90+ percent email delivery rate … or “money refund.”
  4. MORE FREE NAMES OR MONEY REFUND: Some list sellers will promise to send you FREE email addresses to compensate for undeliverable emails. The weakness of this refund type is that more FREE emails will not correct the fact that most of the good email addresses were probably blocked or diverted to the SPAM box … due to the email list being more than 10% bad. Bottom-line, we recommend avoid buying email lists that do not offer a “money refund” guarantee. You’ll likely receive a high quality email list when there is a money refund guarantee.
    Ask that the email list includes the “full contact name” of the email recipient … and the “direct mail address.” Proceed with caution when an email list is missing this key data. Also, be sure the direct mail addresses have a 94+ percent delivery guarantee … or money refund. Having the full name of email recipient will let you know if you’re receiving multiple emails addresses for the same person. And the direct mail address will let you know if you’re receiving 5 email addresses for the same household … which could raise a flag if you’re were seeking just the adult male parent … not all the children. Without the “full name” of email recipient and direct mail address, you’re simply shooting in the dark … absolutely no idea about the names on the email list that you just purchased.
  6. EASY WAY TO VERIFY BUSINESS EMAIL LIST QUALITY: Phones! Whenever buying a business email list be sure to request phones for every record. Upon receiving your email list, simply call a random sample to verify that the email recipient does in fact work at the company. Maybe after 10 calls you’ll realize that 50% of the list is bogus. If the email list supplier doesn’t have phones for the email list, then highly recommend you avoid buying the business email list.
  7. REALLY GETTING THE LIST YOU REQUESTED: Is this really an affluent email list? Is this really an email list of seniors? One way to verify your email list is with a basic Demographic Enhancement Report. Send us a random sample of your email list, and we’ll provide you with a detail Demographic Report ($199) … which will show the age, income, gender, net worth, and other demographic profile of your list. Of course other analytical vendors provide the same report.
    CLICK HERE for more info on how to authenticate your purchased email list.
  8. VALUE OF TIME: $99 for 100,000 email addresses. Sure, some email lists are so cheap that there is not much money risk in trying. However, the time and hassle in dealing with a low quality email list can add up a lot of dollars. There’s also the risk of your getting your IP address blacklisted for using a low quality email list. In addition, there is the potential risk/harm to your brand / company name.
  9. ONE SECRET TO EMAIL SUCCESS: The myth is that you need tens of thousands of email addresses for email success. Truth of the matter is that you need quality email addresses … not quantity. FACT: 5,000 carefully targeted quality email addresses will generate more responses that 100,000 low quality email addresses.
  10. LOW COST EMAIL LIST: If it’s too good to be true … then. If a list seller is willing to give you email addresses for less than 10 cents per email, then it’s highly recommended that you review rules 1 thru 9. If rules 1 to 9 receive a positive score, then you’ve hit the jackpot … congratulations … buy that email list!